Penny For My Thoughts (That’ll be $456,982, please.)

Almost smiling! Brightroom captured me thinking happy thoughts at the finish.

Sometimes I have moments of incredible clarity when I pound the pavement and I’m able come up with answers for everything—including the solution to world hunger (Hint: It involves entomophagy). On other runs, I don’t think about anything at all and I get into a peaceful zone that feels like a full-body smile. Sadly, I didn’t achieve either of those mental states in Grete’s Great Gallop half marathon this past weekend.

Everything that popped into my head last Saturday felt negative. And that bad energy caused me to concentrate on all the wrong things—namely, an achiness in my hips. I had to think past the race just to get to the finish line. Around the 7-mile marker, I reminded myself that as soon as I got through this half marathon, I could focus on my next endurance challenge, hiking in the Himalaya.

I was in a just-get-through-this state of mind, and I’m a little bummed about that now. I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to the positive aspects of that race: the camaraderie of fellow runners out to have a good time, the cheerful volunteers who shared their morning, the shout outs from friends on the course.

This isn’t the first time my head has sabotaged what should have been a really fun experience. I was clouded by negative thoughts during the Boston Marathon back in April, too. And I’m wondering if my mental funk is a sign of something bigger. Or, more likely, maybe I’m over-thinking everything.

What’s on your mind when you’re running? What helps you stay positive during a race?